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Vignettes from the Alley: An artist shares his experiences from Amazing Arizona Comic Con

Posted by on January 29, 2013 – 11:19 am

Josh A. Cutler has the strangest luck meeting comic book artists.  Maybe it’s because Josh is the biggest Captain Marvel, Jr. fan you’ll ever meet.  At comic cons, he carries a sketchbook under his arm and asks artists to draw him a quick Captain Marvel, Jr. whenever possible.  One of the crown jewels of his collection is a sketch by Gene Ha.  Once, when Ha ran out of paper at a show, Josh ripped out a page from his pad so a fellow fan could get his drawing.  Ha expressed his thanks with a stunning (and free) Captain Marvel, Jr. piece in Josh’s sketchbook.  He carries it as proudly as his friends tell the story — the day Josh was a hero, in the smallest way, and was repaid by one of the biggest artists in the industry.

Oh, and Josh dons an amazing poor man’s Captain America costume.  Marvel Comics, he’ll pitch you the story, if you’re interested.


They didn’t forget him.

They drove all the way from Las Vegas to see Jessica Nigri at the Amazing Arizona Comic Con, but one of their friends had to stay behind for work.

“But you’re going to get fired soon, anyway!” they told him, but he didn’t want to skirt his responsibilities.  He was that kind of guy.

So, when they scored free sketches from a local artist in Artist’s Alley, they asked for one more — Aquaman, their buddy’s favorite superhero.

They didn’t forget him.


One, a blonde, the other, a brunette — they didn’t look like your average fangirls, but when they saw the sign for free sketches in Artists’ Alley, they were as giddy as any other geek would be.

“Can you draw Thor?” they asked.  “Oh, those muscles . . .!”

“Sure, I can!  The casting in that movie was spot on.  Now, I gotta ask, who do you think is hotter, his brother or –”

“Who, Loki?  No way!” the girls cooed.

“I actually meant Liam Hemsworth compared to Chris,” the artist smirked.

The girls blushed.  “Well, still Thor,” they answered.

When the sketch was finished, they texted a picture of it to their mother.  Mom’s reply:



I almost didn’t exhibit at this year’s Amazing Arizona Comic Con.  As an artist, I have to consider the costs of the table and printing, not to mention the time spent away from my wife.  I procrastinated on registration until December, and, by then, applying to exhibit was closed, so I figured fate made the decision for me.  Then, in early January, con planners announced their move into a larger convention hall, and the space made more tables available.  Fate had decided, indeed.  I just had to go.

If I hadn’t, these things wouldn’t have happened.


The baby’s name is Logan Xavier.  That’s how nuts his parents are for the X-Men.  Logan’s dad couldn’t believe it when he found a Wolverine hoodie just his son’s size at Target — for five dollars.  For baby clothes, that’s cheap, bub.

Logan’s dad created a “baby’s first comic con” sketchbook and asked artists to contribute at Amazing Arizona Comic Con.  I had the honor of drawing something for Logan.  He’ll probably keep that sketchbook for the rest of his life.


On Saturday afternoon, Josh A. Cutler strolls into Potbelly’s for a lunch break.  It’s far enough away from the convention center to avoid the crowds.  Somebody else had the same idea.

When Josh walked into Potbelly’s, he saw — then met — Jim Lee.

Russ Kazmierczak, Jr. self-publishes comics about superheroes in Arizona at KaraokeFanboy Press.